Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

To Serve the People: Income, Region and Citizen Attitudes towards Governance in China (2003–2016)

  • Jesse Turiel (a1), Edward Cunningham (a2) and Anthony Saich (a3)

Abstract

Through use of a unique, multi-year public opinion survey, this paper seeks to measure changes in self-reported governmental satisfaction among Chinese citizens between 2003 and 2016. Despite the persistence of vast socio-economic and regional inequalities, we find evidence that low-income citizens and residents living in China's less-developed inland provinces have actually reported comparatively greater increases in satisfaction since 2003. These results, which we term the “income effect” and “region effect” respectively, are more pronounced at the county and township levels of government, which are most responsible for public service provision. Our findings also show that the satisfaction gap between privileged and more marginalized populations in China is beginning to close, in large part owing to efforts by the Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping administrations to rebalance the gains of economic growth and shift resources towards the populations most overlooked during China's first few decades of reform.

通过分析一份多年公众意见调查的独特数据, 本文研究了中国公民 2003 年到 2016 年间自评满意度的改变。我们发现, 自 2003 年起, 虽然中国的社会经济不平等和地区不平等依然广泛存在, 但在较不发达的内地省份, 低收入公民和居民的满意度却有了相对大幅度的提升。这个我们称之为 “收入效应” 和 “地区效应” 的发现, 在直接提供公共服务责任的县级和乡镇级别表现更为显著。本研究同时显示, 中国优势群体和边缘群体之间的满意度差异正在开始缩减, 这很大程度上是胡锦涛和习近平领导的中国政府, 在中国改革最初几十年内, 努力平衡经济增长福利并将资源更大幅度地转向被忽略人口的结果。

Copyright

Corresponding author

Email: jsturiel@bu.edu (corresponding author).

References

Hide All
Chung, Jae Ho, Lai, Hongyi and Joo, Jang-Hwan. 2009. “Assessing the ‘revive the northeast’ (zhenxing dongbei) programme: origins, policies and implementation.” The China Quarterly 197, 108125.
CIA World Factbook. 2017. “The CIA World Factbook library: listings (median age),” https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2177.html. Accessed 11 June 2018.
Dickson, Bruce, Landry, Pierre, Shen, Mingming and Yan, Jie. 2016. “Public goods and regime support in urban China.” The China Quarterly 228, 859880.
Diehl, Jackson. 2012. “The coming collapse: authoritarians in China and Russia face an endgame.” World Affairs 175(3), 1525.
Dollar, David. 2007. “Poverty, inequality, and social disparities during China's economic reform.” Policy Research Working Paper No. 4253. Washington, DC: World Bank Publications.
Fan, Shenggen, Kanbur, Ravi and Zhang, Xiaobo. 2011. “China's regional disparities: experience and policy.” Review of Development Finance 1(1), 4756.
Fewsmith, Joseph, and Gao, Xiang. 2014. “Local governance in China: incentives and tensions.” Daedalus 143(2), 170181.
Gao, Jie. 2012. “How does Chinese local government respond to citizen satisfaction surveys? A case study of Foshan city.” Australian Journal of Public Administration 71(2), 136147.
Hong Kong Trade Development Council. 2016. “Facts and figures: mainland China provinces and cities,” http://china-trade-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Facts-and-Figures/Mainland-China-Provinces-and-Cities/ff/en/1/1X39VTST/1X06BOQA.htm. Accessed 29 December 2016.
Kish, Leslie. 1949. “A procedure for objective respondent selection within the household.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 44(247), 380387.
Knight, John. 2013. “The economic causes and consequences of social instability in China.” China Economic Review 25, 1726.
Knight, John, and Gunatilaka, Ramani. 2011. “Does economic growth raise happiness in China?Oxford Development Studies 39(1), 124.
Knight, John, Song, Lina and Gunatilaka, Ramani. 2009. “Subjective well-being and its determinants in rural China.” China Economic Review 20(4), 635649.
KPMG. 2010. “Education in China,” https://www.kpmg.de/docs/Education-in-China-201011.pdf. Accessed 12 June 2018.
Lewis-Beck, Michael, Tang, Wenfang and Martini, Nicholas. 2014. “A Chinese popularity function: sources of government support.” Political Research Quarterly 67(1), 1625.
Li, Chao, and Gibson, John. 2013. “Rising regional inequality in China: fact or artefact?World Development 47, 1629.
Li, Lianjiang. 2004. “Political trust in rural China.” Modern China 30(2), 228258.
Li, Lianjiang, and O'Brien, Kevin. 1996. “Villagers and popular resistance in contemporary China.” Modern China 22(1), 2861.
Liu, Chengfeng, Zhang, Linxiu, Luo, Renfu and Rozelle, Scott. 2009. “Infrastructure investment in rural China: is quality being compromised during quantity expansion?The China Journal 61, 105129.
Liu, Huaxing, and Raine, John Watson. 2016. “Why is there less public trust in local government than in central government in China?International Journal of Public Administration 39(4), 258269.
, Xiaobo. 2014. “Social policy and regime legitimacy: the effects of education reform in China.” American Political Science Review 108(2), 423437.
Ma, Damien, and Adams, William. 2014. In Line behind a Billion People: How Scarcity Will Define China's Ascent in the Next Decade. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press.
McKinsey and Company. 2012. “Healthcare in China: ‘entering uncharted waters’,” http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/health-care-in-china-entering-uncharted-waters. Accessed 17 January 2017.
Meng, Qingyue, Fang, Hai, Liu, Xiaoyun, Yuan, Beibei and Xu, Jin. 2015. “Consolidating the social health insurance schemes in China: towards an equitable and efficient health system.” The Lancet 386(10002), 1484–92.
Michelson, Ethan. 2012. “Public goods and state–society relations: an impact study of China's rural stimulus.” In Yang, Dali (ed.), The Global Recession and China's Political Economy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 131157.
National Bureau of Statistics. 2016. China Statistical Yearbook. Beijing: China Statistics Press.
Oi, Jean, Babiarz, Kim, Zhang, Linxiu, Luo, Renfu and Rozelle, Scott. 2012. “Shifting fiscal control to limit cadre power in China's townships and villages.” The China Quarterly 211, 649675.
Saich, Tony. 2008. “The provision of public goods during the reform period.” In Saich, Tony (ed.), Providing Public Goods in Transitional China. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 4370.
Saich, Tony. 2015a. “China's domestic governing capacity: prospects and challenges.” In Chung, Jae Ho (ed.), Assessing China's Power. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 4161.
Saich, Tony. 2015b. The Governance and Politics of China. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Shih, Victor. 2004. “Development, the second time around: the political logic of developing western China.” Journal of East Asian Studies 4(3), 427451.
Su, Ming, and Zhao, Quanhou. 2006. The Fiscal Framework and Urban Infrastructure Finance in China. Washington, DC: World Bank Publications.
Whyte, Martin King. 2010. One Country, Two Societies: Rural–Urban Inequality in Contemporary China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Whyte, Martin King, and Im, Dong-Kyun. 2014. “Is the social volcano still dormant? Trends in Chinese attitudes toward inequality.” Social Science Research 48, 6276.
Wong, Christine, and Bird, Richard. 2008. “China's fiscal system: a work in progress.” In Brandt, Loren and Rawski, Thomas G. (eds.), China's Great Economic Transformation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 429466.
Xie, Yu, and Zhou, Xiang. 2014. “Income inequality in today's China.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(19), 6928–33.
Yang, Dali, and Wei, Houkai. 1996Rural enterprise development and regional policy in China.” Asian Perspective 20(1), 7194.
Yang, Xiaobing. 2014. “China's central region: development and recent strategies.” In Yongnian, Zheng and Tong, Sarah (eds.), China's Evolving Industrial Policies and Economic Restructuring. London: Routledge, 241258.
Yu, Zheng, Bo, Wang and Shu, Li. 2011. “The dynamic relationship between satisfaction with local government, family income, and life satisfaction in China: a 6-year perspective.” Paper presented at 18th Annual International Conference on Management Science and Engineering, Rome, 13–15 September 2011, 1207–14.
Zhang, Shenglin, Yang, Xiaobo and Wang, Jin. 2009. “Has China reached the Lewis turning point?Zhejiang University Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 6, 118.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Turiel et al. supplementary material
Turiel et al. supplementary material 1

 Word (151 KB)
151 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed